Saturday, January 4, 2020
- I talk a lot about "the relentless pursuit of perfection." In practice, this can mean a lot of thing, and it's hard to define. It's a mindset, more than a specific set of rules. It's not about perfectionism at all costs. It's about creating an environment in which people refuse to accept mediocrity. It's about pushing back against the urge to say that "good enough" is good enough.
- Take responsibility when you screw up. In work, in life, you'll be more respected and trusted by the people around you if you own up to your mistakes. It's impossible to avoid them; but it is possible to acknowledge them, learn from them, and set an example that it's okay to get things wrong sometimes.
- Ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don't understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as possible.
-Robert Iger, as culled from his list of 45 Lessons To Lead By, found at the conclusion of The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years As CEO of The Walt Disney Company
Leaders understand that a good system involves doing something on a regular basis to improve your odds of good outcomes, even if you don't know exactly what the outcome will be. . . .
When it comes to your personal life, business life, and political opinions, it makes sense to favor systems over goals whenever that is practical. A goal gives you one way to win, whereas a system can surface lots of winning paths, some of which you never could have imagined.
-Scott Adams, Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America
Whether that state that is proudly, perhaps erroneously, called civilization, has most promoted, or most injured, the general happiness of man, is a question that may be strongly contested. –On one side, the spectator is dazzled by splendid appearances; on the other he is shocked by extremes of wretchedness; both of which he has erected. The most affluent and the most miserable of the human race are to be found in the countries that are called civilized.
-Thomas Paine, from his essay, AGRARIAN JUSTICE: OPPOSED TO AGRARIAN LAW,AND TO AGRARIAN MONOPOLY BEINGA Plan for meliorating the Condition of Man, in which he offers a plan to make God's creation happy. The view here from the cheap seats is that the "general happiness of man" is beyond the capacity of the State. Your results may vary.
"A little respect goes a long way, and the absence of it is often very costly. Over the next few years, as we made the major acquisitions that redefined and revitalized the company, this simple. seemingly trite idea was as important as all of the data-crunching in the world. If you approach and engage people with respect and empathy, the seemingly impossible can become real.
-Robert Iger, The Ride Of A Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Friday, January 3, 2020
Effective management is putting first things first. While leadership decides what "first things" are, it is management that puts them first, day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Management is discipline, carrying it out.
Discipline derives from disciple—disciple to a philosophy, disciple to a set of principles, disciple to a set of values, disciple to an overriding purpose, to a superordinate goal or a person who represents that goal.
In other words, if you are an effective manager of your self, your discipline comes from within; it is a function of your independent will. You are a disciple, a follower, of your own deep values and their source. And you have the will, the integrity, to subordinate your feelings, your impulses, your moods to those values.
-Stephen R. Covey, as taken from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The common denominator of success --- the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful --- lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don't like to do.
- Albert E.N. Gray, as excerpted from this address
"It is a dangerous and fateful presumption, besides the absurd temerity that it implies, to disdain what we do not comprehend."
-Michel de Montaigne, from his essay It Is Folly . . .
Thursday, January 2, 2020
You can't let ambition get too far ahead of opportunity. I've seen a lot people who had their sights set on a particular job or project, but the opportunity to actually get that thing was so slim. Their focus on the small thing in the distance became a problem. They grew impatient with where they were. They didn't tend enough to the responsibilities they did have, because they were longing so much for something else, and so their ambition became counterproductive. It's important to know how to find the balance—do the job you have well; be patient; look for opportunities to pitch in and expand and grow; and make yourself one of the people, through attitude and energy and focus, that your bosses feel they have to turn to when an opportunity arises. Conversely, if you're a boss, these are the people to nurture—not the ones who are clamoring for promotions and complaining about not being utilized enough but the ones who are proving themselves to be indispensable day in and day out.
-Robert Iger, as culled from The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years As CEO of the Walt Disney Company
Our human need for beauty is not something that we could lack and still be fulfilled as people. It is a need arising from our moral nature. We can wander through this world, alienated, resentful, full of suspicion and distrust. Or we can find our home here, coming to rest in harmony with others and with ourselves. And the experience of beauty guides us along this second path: it tells us that we are at home in the world, what the world is already ordered in our perceptions as a place fit for the lives of beings like us. That is what we see in Corot's landscapes, Cézanne's apples or Van Gogh's unlaced boots.
-Roger Scruton, Confessions of a Heretic
37. Asteyapratisthayam sarvaratnopasthanam
To one established in non-stealing, all wealth comes
If we want to become the world's richest people, this is a very simple way. There's no need to get into the stock market or even to go to work. Just practice non-stealing. All of us are thieves. Knowingly and unknowingly, we steal things from nature. With every minute, with each breath, we pick nature's pocket. Whose air do we breathe? It is nature's. But that doesn't mean we should stop breathing and die. Instead, we should receive each breath with reverence and use it to serve others; then we are not stealing. If we accept it and don't give anything in return, we are thieves. . . .
If we are completely free from stealing and greed, contented with what we have, and if we keep our minds serene, all wealth comes to us. If we do not run after it, before long it runs after us. If nature knows we aren't greedy, she gains confidence in us, knowing we will never hold her for ourselves.
-Sri Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Book 2
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
The group containing Duffield was emanating an almost magnetic force over the room. Strike saw it in the sneaking sidelong glances other occupants were shooting at them; in the respectful space left around them, a wider orbit than anybody else had been granted. Duffield and his cohort's apparent unselfconsciousness was, Strike recognized, nothing but expert artifice; they had, all of them, the hyper-alertness of the prey animal combined with the casual arrogance of predators. In the inverted food chain of fame, it was the big beasts who were stalked and hunted; they were receiving their due.
-Robert Galbraith, as excerpted from the Cuckoo's Calling
"Recyclers in the U.S. are now awash in dirty plastic, with no outlet for their commodity. Much of that is headed for landfills."
-as culled from here
Even in little Newark, Ohio this is a real thing. Two months ago, we were prepared to bid on a local 90,000 square foot abandoned industrial building. On a price per square foot basis the building was ridiculously cheap. One catch. The previous owner, who was walking away from the building, stocked the whole place with giant bales of compacted dirty "recycled" plastic. The buyer of the building also got the bales. We had several quotes for hauling the dirty plastic to the landfill - there being no other use for it. That cost changed the building from ridiculously cheap to a bit too risky for our taste.
There is no doubt that many of our fellow citizens feel virtuous when they carefully sort their trash and take their recyclables to a recycling center. Not sure that feeling is warranted.
Monday, December 30, 2019
The buzz in the street was like the humming of flies. Photographers stood massed behind barriers patrolled by police, their long-snouted cameras poised, their breath rising like steam. Snow fell steadily on to hats and shoulders, gloved fingers wiping lenses clear. From time to time there came outbreaks of desultory clicking, as the watchers filled the waiting time be snapping the white canvas tent in the middle of the road, the entrance to the tall red-brick apartment block behind it, and the balcony on the top floor from which the body had fallen.
-Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling
Being exposed to other folk's reading lists is one of the side benefits to this blogging gig. Patrick Rhone offers his 2019 list here. I like " a good whodunnit", so I took his advice and started in on Robert Galbraith's Cormoran Strike series. So far, amazingly good. Not ashamed to say that part of the lure being Galbraith is J. K. Rowling. Doesn't matter what you call her, she can flat out write. Thanks Patrick.
Sunday, December 29, 2019
Our meeting was not contrived. Not by me, not by Ed, not by any of the hidden hands supposedly pulling at his strings. I was not targeted. Ed was not put up to it. We were neither covertly nor aggressively observed. He issued a sporting challenge. I accepted it. We played. There was no contrivance, no conspiracy, no collusion. There are events in my life - only a few these days, it's true - that admit of one version only. Our meeting was such an event. My telling of it never wavered in all the times they made me repeat it.
-John Le Carré, Agent Running In The Field
"It's not at all that we have too short a time to live, but that we squander a great deal of it. Life is long enough, and it's given in sufficient measure to do many great things if we spend it well. But when it's poured down the drain of luxury and neglect, when it's employed to no good end, we're finally driven to see that it has passed by before we recognized it passing. And so it is—we don't receive a short life, we make it so."
-Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae, from the 12/26 entry in The Daily Stoic